Japan vs Wallabies: Player ratings

by Sam Phillips

There were several stellar performances from the men in gold in Japan, as the Wallabies coasted to a 63-30 win.

Here's who laid their claim for more minutes on the remainder of the Spring Tour.

1. Scott Sio 7.5

Scott Sio kept on coming on Saturday. Photo: Getty ImagesHad six first half carries which produced a line break and three tackle busts. That added impact with ball in hand proved invaluable, just as it did in Brisbane, but it didn't affect the set piece either, as it was his work that won the first scrum penalty of the match. Subbed with 20 to play.

2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 8

One of the Wallabies' best. The lineout was humming and he was rewarded for those clean throws with a try at the back of a strong rolling maul early. Had 13 big carries in 52 minutes and ended up with 24 metres from those touches, with five tackles complementing the superb set piece work.

3. Sekope Kepu 7

Like Sio, put his hand up for regular carries and showed some superb creativity in flicking an offload around the corner to his fellow prop. One of the leaders in defense and that just added to his solid work at scrum time.

4. Rob Simmons 5

Rob Simmons scored but it wasn't his best performance this year. Photo: Getty ImagesThrew a very shaky pass when the Australians led 21-3 and along with Adam Coleman, missed a cleanout halfway through the first term which led to Japan's second shot at goal. Followed that with a loose carry in the 30th minute, knocking the ball on. Did put his hand up for touches but didn't have the greatest impact. Was rewarded for consistent effort throughout the afternoon with a try following some nifty work at the breakdown from Nic Phipps. Despite that, not his best day at the office.

5. Adam Coleman 6.5

Was the chief target at lineout time and was getting quick service to Phipps off the top. Showed some nice hands in interplay when the Wallabies had the ball and the archetypal grunt was there, too. Not his most impactful performance and he concede a couple of penalties but hard to mark him too low in an understated performance.

6. Ned Hanigan 6.5

One of his better starts this year. Provided a consistent option for Phipps and had some critical cleanouts at times when Japan looked like forcing penalties. That was clearly his role as he was hitting plenty of rucks all afternoon. Had a loose carry early in the second half which gave Japan some turnover ball but was otherwise solid in racking up 22 metres from nine carries, with six tackles thrown in as well.

7. Michael Hooper 6.5

Was flying onto the ball and was unlucky to not be awarded a pair of penalties in the first half. Wasn't the kind of game where he had the ball every time you looked up but did lead his team with 10 tackles.

8. Sean McMahon 8

Ubiquitous in both attack and defence, often the first to breakdowns on either side of the ball. Had flashbacks to the Brisbane Bledisloe when he put the team on his back in the lead up to Koroibete's try, pumping his legs through would be tacklers and that run summed up his afternoon. Huge again in racking up 57 metres from 14 touches, with four tackle busts and the aforementioned line break headlining the stats.

9. Nick Phipps 5.5

Phipps' best moment came in the form of a try assist for Simmons. Photo: Getty ImagesKicked dead early without any pressure on and struggled to make his mark in any other sense in the first term. Good, quick ball to Kerevi to put Kuridrani over for his hat trick and then got some reward for his work rate in falling on a loose ball to score after a big tackle from Hodge. Followed that up by darting away and finding a gap for Simmons to slice through and score. It was the kind of performance one would probably expect from the much-maligned halfback.

10. Reece Hodge 7.5

Certainly not out of place at flyhalf. Threw a great pill to put Speight over for the Wallabies' second with their favourite set play. It was the kick from the penalty in the lead up that was perhaps more important, though, as it put the Australians in the attacking position from which they were able to pounce. It was his sleight of hand that set up the Wallabies' third after a huge run from McMahon to put Beale away, who found Koroibete for the try. Beale played a fair role in running the attack but the pair worked well together. Did throw a couple wayward passes but that was to be expected. Nine from nine off the tee isn't too shabby, either.

11. Marika Koroibete 7

Brilliant combination of a run and offload to put Kuridrani away for his second try and made the most of his opportunities when the ball did come his way. Had 45 metres from his nine touches and shined defensively, which is perhaps the most improved part of his game since getting a regular start in Cheika's best XV.

12. Samu Kerevi 8

Samu Kerevi was one of the Wallabies' best. Photo: Getty ImagesScored an early try though all he had to do was catch and canter over. His second five pointer was reward for some gut busting support, backing Speight and Beale up after the former split the line from a loose pass. Went from scorer to creator for Australia's next, drawing two defenders and dishing an offload for Kuridrani's third try of the day. Had some eye popping numbers with 108 metres from 17 carries, six tackle busts and a line break. He's always been this good in attack but improvement on the defensive end is what he craves and what Michael Cheika will still want to see.

13. Tevita Kuridrani 7.5

The hat trick hero. Had some big carries in the first half and was rewarded for support lines with a try following some great hands from Beale and Hodge. Rinse and repeat for his second try after a big burst from Koroibete and follow that same formula for his third, following a great offload from Kerevi. A well deserved hat trick from a typically industrious afternoon.

14. Henry Speight 7

Ran the perfect line to score the Wallabies' second of the afternoon but was otherwise relatively quiet in the first half. That quickly changed in the second term, cleaning up a loose Hodge pass and splitting the Japanese line with outstanding athleticism and rugby nous, finding a flying Beale who put Kerevi away for his second. Had six tackle busts in his five carries and took the opportunity created by Hodge's shift to flyhalf.

15. Kurtley Beale 8

Loved his game. Was chiming in and helping run the attack early and continued that involvement all afternoon. Threw the last pass for Kerevi's try and displayed further creativity in the perfectly weighted chip to Koroibete. Followed that up by changing his line at the last second to turn a brilliant Hodge pass into a try, throwing a pinpoint pass to Kuridrani for Australia's fourth. Part of his game that has shined since returning from Wasps is the constant presence he provides when another player makes a linebreak and he did that once again to put Kerevi over in the second term. Had the similar eye popping numbers which Kerevi racked up with 115 metres from 12 carries.


16. Stephen Moore 5.5

Came on and kept the scrum and lineout ticking over without having the same impact Polota-Nau did in attack.

17. Tom Robertson 6

Was in a similar boat as Moore, keeping the scrum in a dominant position but also managed to break a tackle in a handful of carries.

18. Allan Alaalatoa 5.5

Barely sighted with ball in hand but did hold up his end of the bargain at scrum time.

19. Matt Philip 6.5

Matt Philip had an impact off the bench on debut. Photo: Getty ImagesReally liked his debut. Put his hand up for four carries and drove his way over the gain line in each of those carries. Got his hands dirty defensively as well.

20. Ben McCalman 5

Worlds apart from his big afternoon in Sydney against the Barbarians. Played 20 minutes but didn't register a meaningful carry, only managing to concede a penalty. Toiled away defensively, though, making five tackles.

21. Lopeti Timani 6.5

The Lopeti Timani that all Australian rugby fans want to see. Had 13 metres from his three runs and broke a tackle in one of those carries. Made the most of his opportunity but did miss four of his eight attempted tackles.

22. Joe Powell NA

Played just the 15 minutes in place of Phipps.

23. Curtis Rona 6.5

Had a couple of big carries where he was brushing defenders with ease. Had five tackle busts in four carries, with 19 metres gained. Big impact from the pine.